I have enjoyed every coffee I have tried from Steampunk Coffee, a roastery based in North Berwick, Scotland. Their positive reputation with me was the reason I decided to order my first ever decaf coffee from their roastery. I wanted to get the best impression of decaf coffee as I could. I did not want a bad decaf bean to cause me to develop ill-informed opinions on decaf coffee.
I ordered this coffee over two weeks ago. It has been sitting in a Steampunk coffee tin since I ordered it. I’ve had maybe four or five cups. I prefer to have fully-caffeinated coffee most of the time. I ordered this coffee to try decaf. It was not supposed to replace my regular coffee consumption. Although this coffee has been sitting in the cupboard for a few weeks, do not let that inform your perspective of this coffee.
Columbia El Carmen is a decaf coffee from Steampunk. It is processed using the sugarcane decaffeination process. In this process, coffee is steamed and then soaked in ethyl acetate. This process is called “natural” because ethyl acetate is a naturally-occurring chemical. After the ethyl acetate is applied, the caffeine from the bean is removed. Once 97% of the caffeine is removed, the coffee is steamed again and prepared for shipping. There are other decaf processes such as CO2 and the Swiss Water Process. Steampunk uses the natural method.
If I was served this coffee in cafe, I would be unable to say that it was decaf. This coffee holds its own just like any other coffee I have tasted.
This coffee has an aroma with strong notes of apple and raspberry. The aroma is indicative of the flavors to come. When the cup is warm, I get a lot of fruity flavors. Grapes and apple are the most prominent flavors. There is a hint of chocolate but unlike many coffees I have tried the chocolate flavors are very faint. I like this because chocolate is a pretty common flavor in coffee. I like to seek out new flavors.
As the coffee cools, I was able to detect more fruity flavors. I was reminded of drinking a carton of apple juice as a kid. I used to love those cartons. But, apple was not the only flavor I tasted as the coffee cooled. The grape flavor was still clear. Toward the end of the cup, I started to get notes of plum. These notes somewhat reminded me of the Artisan Roast coffee I am presently drinking.
Columbia El Carmen has a medium-to-heavy body. It has a syrupy mouthfeel but I’ve definitely had coffees with heavier bodies. I feel like the body goes well with the fruit notes. A heavier body may have made the coffee a bit too overpowering. Columbia El Carmen is a fine balance between fruity flavors.
This coffee is sweet. It’s one of the sweeter coffees I have tried. I expected this given the fruit notes. There is a slight acidity although I’ve had much more acidic coffees. Sweetness really is the defining characteristic, alongside the apple and grape notes.
I consumed a cup of this coffee on a warm morning as the sun shone through the window. I cannot imagine a better time to have this coffee. I do like regular caffeinated coffee but this one works really well on a morning. I like a fruity coffee in the morning. Well, I like a fruity coffee at any time. Fruity coffees are my favorite. After drinking the coffee, I had a slight taste of apple and plum on my tongue. A great finish to an excellent cup of coffee.
You can order this coffee from the Steampunk website: https://www.steampunkcoffee.co.uk/collections/freshly-roasted-coffee/products/el-carmen-sugarcane-decaf?variant=32037223759933
About This Coffee
Process: Washed, Sugarcane Decaf
Price: 9 Pounds (250g)
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo
Tastes: Apple, grape, plum, chocolate